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Watch Dogs: Legion and memories of London

Many people have been working from home this year due to COVID-19. I’ve been stuck at my kitchen table with my laptop and conference calls for around 250 days and haven’t been to London for work or pleasure for almost eight months now.

I can’t deny that I’m enjoying not having to get up so early for the commute or forking out far too much money on train tickets; and it’s nice not having to deal with the fumes from all the traffic or cramming myself onto an overcrowded tube. But I do find myself occasionally missing the city and that’s not something I ever thought would happen. There’s something special about it when you’re able to catch it at the right time, those earliest hours in the morning when it feels as though you have the whole place to yourself.

Friend-of-the-blog Phil decided to stream Watch Dogs: Legion on his Twitch channel last month so he could give everyone watching a virtual tour of London. He visited many of the locations where we’ve hung out in real life and it was fun remembering the stupid stuff we’ve done together to in the past. Here are some of his favourite shots from the title (because we all love taking pretty pictures in video games), along with our memories of what we got up to in each location.

Barbican: more than meets the AI

In September last year, we had the pleasure of going to the AI: More Than Human exhibition at the Barbican. A roped-off section towards the end of it contained a robot called ‘Alter 3’ with the body of a bare machine and a genderless mask for a face, which ‘learned and matured through interplay with the surrounding world’. It was one of the weirdest things we’d ever seen: there was something very unsettling about it, and the expressions it pulled made it almost seem as if Alter 3 had become self-aware.

Caledonian Road: the place where we made a new friend

The Meltdown gaming bar on this road was where we first met friend-of-the-blog Ben back in late 2013. We’d met through our respective sites and after chatting for a while, found out that he worked in a nearby area – so what better excuse to meet up for a drink? We hit it off like a house on fire as soon as he’d stepped through the doors and, over several pints and conversations about video games, it became obvious this was going to be a beautiful friendship. Seven years later and he’s still putting up with us.

Embankment: the marathon walk turned sour by Haribo

Phil and I thought it would be a great idea to take part in the Shine Night Walk for Cancer Research with another work colleague in 2011, a marathon event completed through London overnight. We found ourselves taking a break during the early hours in the morning by the Embankment, watching the river and eating Haribo – which turned out to be one of the worst decisions we ever made. The sugar hit our bodies, so we all felt nauseous for the rest of the walk and were glad when we finally dragged ourselves over the finish-line at around 07:00.

Southbank: the Winter Market where the market was missing

It’s tradition to finish working at lunch-time on the final day of the year at our workplace so we decided to use the free afternoon to visit the Winter Market at the Southbank before saying goodbye before Christmas in 2019. The only problem was that this time around, the ‘market’ part was kind of missing: we found about ten stalls and a bunch of hipsters sipping on mulled cider at pop-up bars. We decided to skip the event and instead took a slow walk up the river, which was much nicer.

Kings Cross: the worst escape room ever

I wasn’t happy when I heard we’d be doing an escape room here as a work team-building exercise but breathed a sigh of relief when I found out Phil and I had been put in the same group. That was the highlight though and thank god he was there to make it funny, because the experience itself was pretty bad. Everything was run down, the plug-socket among the shower-room mosaic tiles in the section which was meant to be a ‘sewer’ totally ruined the effect and the staff were lazy. At least Phil’s puns brightened the day.

Westminster: reliving our youth in the arcades

Right next to the London Eye is Namco Funscape and it’s here that we spent an afternoon for yet another team-building event in the summer of last year. Thankfully, it was nowhere near as bad as the escape room above! Phil and I hung out in the arcade, trying to win enough tokens so enable a colleague to win a prize, before sneaking out early and taking a walk along the Thames in the sun. It probably wouldn’t be a place I’d go back to but it was nice reliving the nostalgia of the London Trocadero for a while.

All over: treasure-hunting with Quietschisto

When Quietschisto from RNG told us he’d be visiting London last year, it seemed like the perfect excuse to combine an adventure with sightseeing. A HiddenCity treasure-hunt lead us across the city and had us solving challenges and interacting with people we met along the way. At one point, we had to climb the steps shown at the location opposite and we felt like we were going somewhere we weren’t allowed to enter – but at the top, we had a lovely view of London with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background.

Have you ever played a game set in a location you’ve visited in real life and if so, did it bring back memories for you? Hopefully we’ll see the end of the COVID-19 lockdown soon so I can meet up with Phil in person again – and fingers-crossed that happens by February so he can join us for our GameBlast21 marathon stream.

We’re taking part in GameBlast21 to support SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity.
Making a donation will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

15 thoughts on “Watch Dogs: Legion and memories of London Leave a comment

  1. This is awesome. Whilst I aren’t a fan of the series, or open-world stuff in general, this does make me want to jump in. Especially if it is recreated as well as it seems. Itching for a wander round Camden and a pint in The World’s End, maybe a cheeky one in Underworld. This might be the next best thing!

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    • When Phil streamed last month, he showed us all around London rather than actually play the game and it was great to watch. I never thought I’d find myself missing the city after having to commute there every day but the lockdown has proven me wrong.

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    • Thanks Gaming Diaries!! It was so much fun to explore virtual London and I’ll be showing this one off to the parents when they next visit, even if they aren’t interested haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww I’m sure they will be interested (to an extent). My not at all gamer parents sometimes liked watching me explore places. Basically if I could do a tour for them so yours might enjoy this. Also you did manage to convince me to buy Legion… so I’ll be doing the virtual tour myself soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A lot of credit to Ubisoft for the recreation of London! It’s a very odd (but strangely pleasant) feeling to see familiar parts of the city recreated so well but plastered with propaganda from the in-game antagonist. There’s drones flying everywhere over the roadways for deliveries, security, city maintenance and the press which feels very close to what may be a not so distant future in reality.

    I wish more games would consider modern day London as a setting but I feel Watch Dogs is probably one of the best types of game to do this with its open world setting and focus on modern issues.

    It’s a shame our office is not within the borders of the game’s map as it would be fun to fly over there with a missile-equipped drone…

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  3. Awwww this is so nice 🙂 I used to walk past most of these locations regularly for work a few years ago. I really do miss Central London. My city. My home ❤️

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    • Once the pandemic is over, we should really meet up for a drink one day! In the meantime, it’s lovely joining you for some Final Fantasy on Twitch. 😊

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  4. London sounds so cool… I wanna go even more now!! 😁

    I had a similar lovely city nostalgia moment with NYC and the Spider-man game on PS4. The landmarks were so spot on I almost shed a tear when I looked over at the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. Good times! ♥️

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